[NetBehaviour] Odyssey going down and thank you

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Wed Mar 4 10:02:38 CET 2009

I wonder how long SL will last? Linden have spent a pile on it. They need to
recoup that at some point, or go bust. When SL does close down will what
comes after employ similar enough protocols that inventories will be
transferable or at least parseable?

As you observe, this is not a new problem. Like you I have work on 10²
floppies (even on old 1/4² tapes) which are not only unreadable but meant to
be read by machines that ceased to be produced thirty years ago. There might
be a museum somewhere with the kit to read them and display the outputs ­
although highly unlikely as at the time I used fairly customised systems.

I made a decision at the end of the 1980¹s to switch from high-end systems
(at that time Silicon Graphics and systems like that) to consumer level
systems. I did this because as I found myself showing my work in more
diverse places it was becoming more of a challenge to source the necessary
kit. Curators and organisers were, quite reasonably, worried about the hoops
I was making them jump through if they wanted to show my stuff. I think I
made the right decision, even if it did mean that (at the time) some were
critical of my work for going low-tech and clunky. Personally I wasn¹t that
bothered ­ for me it wasn¹t the smoothness of the graphics that mattered but
the structure of the code and how that was manifest in the behaviour of the
systems and the interaction of people with them.

The advent of the internet and, particularly, the web was a really important
development in that it established a set of more or less universal
protocols. This led to huge uptake of computing and related technologies by
both users and producers. It also allowed the distinction between the two
groups to become blurred, as we see in web 2.0, with social media and
user-generated content. This only happened because the protocols were simple
and universal. It is also interesting to note that early works made
employing these protocols still work today, with little if any adjustment.
This is quite amazing for somebody use to seeing their work become
technologically unplayable within 5 years of production due to fundamental
changes in the platforms involved. I have work on the net that I put up 15
years ago. I haven¹t touched it since ­ but it still works on almost every
type of computer, operating system and browser.

Here¹s to universal protocols!



On 4/3/09 05:05, "Alan Sondheim" <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:

> Thank you for writing Steve Dietz; I haven't heard back.
> I've soured on Odyssey the last few days - the politics, people interfer-
> ing with each other, etc., are depressing. Sugar Seville ran Odyssey
> brilliantly by not running it; with her leaving, structure has become
> reified and contested. On one level this is good - a way of seeing a
> larger picture - but on the other it suddenly emphasizes ideological
> issues that are debilitating, I think I put up a second work on the site
> along with Selavy Oh; Gaz came in and created a "prism" over the whole
> area which subverts what I was doing, etc. This is fine and in the spirit
> of Odyssey at least at the moment - I'm just not personally interested in
> working this way. As far as a museum goes, that would be good for SL in
> general - once Linden runs out of steam, if SL closes down (and it surely
> will), all these relatively early experiments in virtual culture will be
> gone. We can save "inventories," but without the proper software, they'll
> be as useless as the 10" floppy disk I have with pascal programs I wrote
> in 1977...
> - Alan
> | Alan Sondheim Mail archive:  http://sondheim.rupamsunyata.org/
> | To access the Odyssey exhibition The Accidental Artist:
> | http://slurl.com/secondlife/Odyssey/48/12/22
> | Webpage (directory) at http://www.alansondheim.org
> | sondheim at panix.com, sondheim at gmail.org, tel US 718-813-3285
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
> http://www.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour

Simon Biggs
Research Professor
edinburgh college of art
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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